martes, 11 de junio de 2019

Business: Forbes, The World's Highest-Paid Athletes, 2019

Forbes is an American business magazine. Published bi-weekly, it features original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics. Forbes also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science, politics, and law. Its headquarters is located in Jersey City, New Jersey. Primary competitors in the national business magazine category include Fortune and Bloomberg Businessweek. 

The magazine is well known for its lists and rankings, including of the richest Americans (the Forbes 400), of the world's top companies (the Forbes Global 2000), and The World's Billionaires. 

Forbes has tracked the leading earners in sports for three decades, and only seven athletes have landed in the top spot since 1990 (Tiger Woods holds the record with 12 times at No. 1). Global soccer icon Lionel Messi adds an eighth name to the roll call this year and, after longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, is only the second soccer player to rank first.

The top 100 spans 10 sports and includes athletes from 25 countries. Their $4 billion in combined earnings from prize money, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019 is up 5% from last year, when Floyd Mayweather was first with $285 million.

The Top 10 are:
  1. Messi (Soccer)
  2. CR7 (Soccer)
  3. Neymar (Soccer)
  4. Canelo (Box)
  5. Federer (Tennis)
  6. Wilson (NFL)
  7. Rodgers (NFL)
  8. LeBron (NBA)
  9. Curry (NBA)
  10. Durant (NBA)

The Top 11 to 20 are:

11. Tiger (Golf)
12. Roethlisberger (NFL)
13. Hamilton (Formula 1)
13. Joshua (Box)
13. Mack (NFL)
16. Westbrook (NBA)
17. Djokovic (Tennis)
17. Trout (MLB)
19. Mickelson (Golf)
20. Harden (NBA)

The Top 21 - 100 are:

Newcomers Delight

NFL contracts for elite stars carry huge upfront signing bonuses, pushing this quartet of gridiron greats to career-high paydays and their first appearances on the top 100. They are joined by Philadelphia’s new $330 million slugger.

Basketball Rules

Thirty-five NBAers made the cut, with cumulative earnings of $1.3 billion. Credit basketball’s skyrocketing player salaries driven by a near doubling of the salary cap over the past five years. Tennis players make four times as much from endorsements and appearance fees as from prize money.

USA vs The World

More than half of the top 100 earners play in the NFL or the NBA, giving Americans the advantage on total earnings, but the rich endorsement portfolios of international tennis and soccer stars mean higher average earnings for those outside the U.S.

Rising Tides

The top earner in sports has regularly banked more than $100 million annually since Tiger Woods rose to prominence in the 2000s, but the major shift is the rise of the next class of paychecks. The earnings for the tenth-highest-paid player is up 150% in 15 years.

Elite athletes are earning more than ever thanks to soaring salaries driven by ever-richer TV contracts. The cutoff to crack the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes is $25 million this year, compared with $17.3 million five years ago.

Here is a breakdown of the sports, nationalities, sponsors and more for the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes.


Athletes from 10 sports made the top 100. NBA stars led the way with 35 players (down from 40 last year), headed by LeBron James at $89 million.

The NFL was the next-best-represented sport with 19 athletes. Russell Wilson ($89.5 million) and Aaron Rodgers ($89.3 million) are well ahead of their peers after signing new deals with signing bonuses worth a combined $115 million.

Baseball (15 athletes); soccer (12); golf, boxing and tennis (5 each); and racing (2) also landed multiple stars in the top 100. For the fourth straight year, Virat Kohli ($25 million) and McGregor were the lone representatives from cricket and mixed martial arts. No NHL player or Nascar driver earned $20 million during the past year.


There are 25 countries represented in the top 100. The United States had 62 athletes make the cut, thanks to the sky-high salaries in the major U.S. sports leagues, although the tally was down from 65 in 2018. Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton and boxer Anthony Joshua (both at $55 million) led the U.K contingent of five athletes. France and Spain each had three athletes while Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Serbia and Venezuela all had two. 

This is the list of the countries with one athlete in The World's Highest-Paid Athletes:
  • Argentina (Lionel Messi, 1).
  • Chile (Alexis Sanchez, 53).
  • Cuba (Yoenis Céspedes, 62).
  • Egypt (Mohamed Salah, 98).
  • Greece (Giannis Antetokounmpo, 26).
  • India (Virat Kohli, 100).
  • Ireland (Conor McGregor, 21).
  • Japan (Kei Nishikori, 35).
  • Kazakhstan (Gennady Golovkin, 95).
  • Mexico (Canelo Alvarez, 4).
  • Portugal (Cristiano Ronaldo, 2).
  • Philippines (Manny Pacquiao, 92).
  • Switzerland (Roger Federer, 5).
  • Wales (Gareth Bale, 79).


The top 100 earned $986 million from endorsements, memorabilia and appearance fees, up 12% from last year, as companies focused their marketing budgets on elite talent. Nike has the most athletes under contract, with 51 of the top 100.

Nike’s chief rival, Adidas, endorses 17 athletes in the top 100, including those under its Reebok brand. PepsiCo, along with its Gatorade and Mountain Dew brands, is affiliated with 13 athletes by Forbes’ count.


The biggest surprise is that not a single Chinese superstar is found in The World's Highest-Paid Athletes. China is a global powerhouse in multiple areas (e.g., business, science, and technology). From now on I anticipate that we have to count on China on the next list.


Forbes, 2019 The World's Highest-Paid Athletes Earnings, Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes Staff, June 11, 2019, link:

Forbes, Behind The Numbers Of The Top-Earning Athletes 2019, Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes Staff, June 11, 2019, link:

Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes Staff
  • I cover sports business with rare dips into b-schools, local economies. 
  • I am a senior editor at Forbes and focus mainly on the business of sports and our annual franchise valuations. I also spend a lot of my time digging into what athletes earn on and off the field of play. I've profiled a bunch of athletes that go by one name: LeBron, Shaq, Danica and others. I also head up our biennial B-School rankings and our annual features on the Best Places for Business (metros, states and countries). I joined Forbes in 1998 after working 3 years at Financial World magazine.

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